This week the PGA Tour slithers to the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida for the Valspar Championship in the final leg of the Florida swing. Statistically, one of the hardest courses on the PGA Tour, the Copperhead Course is riddled with challenges that will give any player in the field a run for their money. Players will have to navigate the narrow fairways and find their targets on the smaller than usual greens. The most grueling challenge that awaits the players this week will be the super hard finishing holes known as the “Snake Pit”. Starting with the par-4 16th dubbed “the Moccasin”, the par-3 17th known as “the Rattler”, and finally the par-4 18th named “the Copperhead” the “Snake Pit” will play a pivotal part through all four rounds, especially coming down the stretch on Sunday afternoon. Weather will be another factor with the wind predicted to blow in a couple of different directions throughout the tournament with an estimated speed of 8-10 mph. The wind speeds coupled with the fact the Copperhead Course has not received any significant rainfall in the last few weeks show that the Copperhead Course is poised and ready to strike.
Paul Casey has his sights set on becoming the first person to successfully defend his title at the Valspar Championship and joins fellow international players Retief Goosen and K.J. Choi as the only multiple winners of the event. Coming off a missed cut last week at The Players Casey has three top-20 finishes with two of those being top-5’s in his last four starts. The Englishmen will need to have a good start on the first two days and finish strong on the weekend as well and avoid any costly mistakes with the flat stick in order to go back-to-back.
Jim Furyk showed us last week that age is just a number. At 48 years old the former U.S. Ryder Cup Captain shot a mesmerizing five-under 67 during the final round of The Players last week to post at 15 under par for the championship. Despite Furyk’s best efforts, he ended up finishing second and just one shot back of Rory McIlroy who won with a final round two-under 70. A past winner at the Copperhead Course and a handful of top 20’s since 2010 Furyk has all the knowledge and skill to get the job done.
Louis Oosthuizen has not had much in the way of success so far in the 2018-2019 season. Coming into this week Oosthuizen has only recorded a pair of top-25 finishes and two missed cuts, but don’t let that take away from his chances here. The Copperhead Course requires accurate drives and precision second shots, a combination of Oosthuizen’s ever-expanding toolbox. With a win this week the sweet-swinging South African will finally have his first official PGA Tour win on American soil.